During 2015, 945 members of the Bush Theatre’s local community come through the theatre’s doors in West London to take part in a special event, workshop or talk. In 2016, this work will continue to expand and will include the Bush Theatre’s most ambitious community project to date.
In the past 12 months, the Bush Theatre has offered members of the local community:
- 945 places in free workshops, creative projects or events
- 12 work experience opportunities for young people
- 884 free tickets and opportunities to see the Bush’s work
Highlights of the Bush Theatre’s 2015 work
In September 2015, the Bush hosted a spoken word project with White City Youth Theatre, led by Inua Ellams (The Midnight Run), resulting in a short film (below). Bridge Academy also took part in this project with artist Yusra Warsama (The Crows Plucked Your Sinews).
If by White City Youth Theatre
The Local Hero project, organised alongside the run of The Royale, saw the Bush work with over 70 young people across the borough to ask the question: ‘Who are our cultural icons and where do we find them?’ The Bush ran one–off creative workshops with various schools and young people’s groups based on this question and ran a four-week project with members from Only Connect, a local organisation working with young people at risk and ex-offenders. The members worked with artist Yemisi Blake to create and curate a photography exhibition exploring this question and their personal responses to it. This exhibition ran at the Bush Theatre throughout the run of The Royale. The images created, and audio clips from the members discussing their work, can be found on the Bush’s website.
The Bush’s community reading group met every Tuesday morning in the autumn where they read and discussed scenes from Tanya Ronder’s play F___ the Polar Bears, which premiered at the Bush. Ronder and the cast met with the group who attended the show for free.
In December, in connection with the play Forget Me Not which looked at a mother and son re-united after many years, the Bush organised an inter-generational project which partnered pupils from Greenside Primary School with older members of the community for a day of fun and games. One of the young participants said “the best part [of the day] was when an elderly woman called Cynthia said that my head was screwed on in the right direction!”, another expressed shock that in their youth the elderly people “didn’t even have TV!”
Shepherds Bush Families Project is a local organisation which aims to help families who are homeless or have other unmet housing needs and suffer social and economic hardship in Shepherds Bush or Hammersmith & Fulham. In October the Bush provided them, and the Doorstep Library (a registered charity that brings books and the magic of reading directly to the homes of children in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas), with free tickets for the half-term Storystock storytelling festival.
Thanks to generous funding from the John Lyon’s Charity, Hammersmith United Charities and other trusts and foundations, the Bush plans to increase its offer over the next 12 months. It will continue to offer work experience placements, 20 workshops, five Creative Community projects, and specially created education packs for each show produced in-house, as well as continuing activity with local groups such as White City Youth Theatre and schools.